The San Antonio Redevelopment Commission reviewed its map once again on Saturday, following a last-minute request from the downtown business community to stay in District 1.
The new map was approved unanimously by the committee and will be presented to the City Council on Thursday.
Most of Precinct 2051 and 1001 would remain in District 1, while Cuellar Park would be restored in District 6. Collins Garden Neighborhood Association would be in the 5th district.
“There was good business representation there and everyone was shaking their heads to say that it was appropriate to do that,” Richard Perez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview after the meeting.
Saturday’s meeting in the City Hall information room included the testimony of Perez, Matt Antonio Center CEO Matt Brown, Weston City Development Director David Robinson Jr., Frost Bank spokesman Bill Day and BBQ President and CEO Bill Miller Jim Guy Egbert, all of whom requested it. the commission maintains a unified central business district and rejected a plan to move part of the center from district 1 to district 5.
District 5 is Councilor Teri Castillo, the housing organizer. Castillo did not immediately respond to a voice message requesting a Saturday comment.
District 1 is represented by Councilor Mario Bravo, who said he has been working to find common ground with companies in his city center.
“I think a lot of people in the business community were really worried that I was going to be too radical or anti-business, and I think they were very surprised that I wasn’t there,” said Bravo, who was selected. In 2021.
“I met them [San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce] for a round table yesterday and we didn’t line up at all, but we are ready to work together and I am ready to listen to them, ”he added.
Perez said the decision to lobby the lobby committee between employers was to settle their interests with a single board member, not about electing one board member over another.
“That’s not the point,” Perez said of working with Castillo instead of Bravo. “Suppose 98% of your district is not the center. … We were afraid that we would get 2% of the time, effort and energy of this board member, because it is 98%. [of her district] there were other things. ‘
Each council member elected two community members to its neighborhood representation committee, and spent about six months trying to divide the city’s residents after the 2020 census showed the city had added about 100,000 inhabitants.
The commission believed it had completed its map a few weeks ago before residents of District 2 expressed concern about the loss of part of Brackenridge Park and before the business community became involved in the downtown division.
Last week, the commission rejected plans to consolidate Brackenridge Park in District 1, calming activists in District 2. This week it was also achieved by interested businesses in District 1 (including HEB, located in an area that was to be relocated to District 5). The result they want to stay in District 1.
This angered some participants in the reshuffle process, with the intention of reopening their concerns from previous meetings that appeared on Saturday.
“I don’t understand how employers, journalists [and] people in the community didn’t know what was going on, “said Cindy Munch, a resident of Greater Harmony Hills, who rejected her request to keep her neighborhood in District 1 instead of District 1.” , of course, because we didn’t hear from our constituency, ”Munch said of the employers.
District 1 representative Jordan Ghawi said Saturday’s changes were the result of a back-and-forth discussion between District 1, 5 and 6 representatives.
“Even this morning … we were still communicating and negotiating,” said John Ybanez, a 6th District representative.
Their proposal was received with the enthusiastic support of the committee, although a representative from District 5 acknowledged his disappointment with the changes at the end of the meeting.
District 5 currently has the smallest of the 10 districts, with 119,736 inhabitants. Although it lost some of its residents who were expected to win on Saturday’s changes, the new map has an 8.84% deviation between neighborhoods, and meets the legal requirement that districts not be 10% larger or smaller than each other.
“District 5 has yet to grow,” said Velma Pena, who represented the district on the committee. “I look forward to that in the next 10 years [when redistricting could take place again]they will treat us equally and we will be able to get some of the areas we really need. ”